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Where in the World are You?...Guoliang Tunnel Road; Guoliang, China
Where in the World are You? #65
I first found information on this location a few months ago put have been putting of this Where in the World are You for unknown reasons. Recently as I was sitting in the mostly dark family room at 3am I saw a television commercial for a new breed of American sports car, made by one of the oldest American car companies. It was this ad that inspired me to write this, and perhaps buy one of these particular automobiles.
For this location we return to a previously visited country, though we find ourselves in a different part of it. Seems fitting that we return here, everyone I know who has been here (which is maybe two or three people) have all vowed to return one day. I am not referring to the Philippines, nor am I referring to Douglas McArthur; way before my time.
Construction began in the seventies, with absolutely no assistance from the government, which comes as a bit of a surprise considering where it is located and the manner in which the country is governed, one would think the government has it’s hands in everything; everything of value I suppose. It seems the local population was fed up with the arduous process required to resupply the village, a real chore from what I’ve read, so they decided to take it upon themselves to build a road from the valley floor to the cliff upon which their village was perched. When they were finished, six years later, the tunnel stretched ¾’s of a mile from top to bottom.
When I first saw the photos and saw the “windows” that dotted the length of the tunnel I thought of the vomitoriums of ancient Rome, surprisingly not what you might think they were, but as it turns out these windows were created as a method of removing the rubble from within the tunnel. Very nice work for apparently untrained craftsmen working with hand tools (I could not find any information that indicated one way or the other if they had the benefit of explosives). So, once again…Where in the World are You?
Guoliang Tunnel Road; Guoliang, China
Prior to the 1970’s, the only means of ingress and egress into the Chinese village of Guoliang was a precarious, and if you see the photos of it you will understand, path from the valley floor to the village that was perched high above. The residents of the village petitioned the Chinese government for assistance in the construction of a road from the valley floor to the village but they were rebuffed by Beijing.
In 1972 the residents of the village of Guoliang took it upon themselves to build a road to ease the path of travel for residents and visitors alike. As the story goes, the villagers sacrificed a considerable portion of their material possessions to acquire the tools necessary to commence and complete the construction of the road. As you may have guessed, or maybe not, the manner in which they built the road, as a continuous tunnel, was the easiest method to do it. It sounds strange really, building nearly a mile long tunnel, allegedly with nothing more than hand tools, was the easiest method; if one considers the complexity of building a conventional road and having to clear the entire cliff side above it, it becomes clear how much work they saved themselves.
Work was completed on the Guoliang Tunnel Road in 1977 but it did not feature in a Cadillac commercial until 2012.
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